March 25, 2020 by Sidney Shapiro, Liz Fisher

Three Steps for an Expert Response to COVID-19

Whatever one's political views, the end goal regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) is the same – to minimize the number of people dying and suffering from severe disease. As commentators have repeatedly noted, we need genuine expertise for that. Beyond involving scientists and physicians in decision-making, there are three steps in determining what that expertise should look like and how we tap into it most effectively.

First, the experts can inform decision-making, even if uncertainty will remain. While we can all agree on the end point – no one dying – how to get there is not clear, even to the experts. Rigorous expert judgment and a respect for science are therefore required. Expertise is developed not just from professional training, but from experience in using that training over and over, building up a store of experience that makes one a better expert.

Ultimately, however, the choices in uncertain situations are the province of democratically elected leaders. Much as a patient in a physician's office must choose a path of treatment based on the doctor's advice, elected leaders must make decisions affecting an entire population. These choices are ripe for controversy because there is no one obvious choice about how best to stop the …

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March 25, 2020

Three Steps for an Expert Response to COVID-19